A CSM helps the Scrum team to carry out their processes at the highest level. These experts protect the team from internal and external distractions in the organization. The people who have this certification can understand the Scrum framework and have an understanding of team roles, artifacts, and events. The CSM, abbreviation of Certified ScrumMaster, is an entry-level certification that is designed to provide experts beginning as Scrum practitioners an understanding of the project management methodology. People who get this certificate can offer services to fill roles of either Scrum Master or Scrum team member.
As compared to many other professional certifications, the CSM exam is fairly easy. You have to score 74% of marks. It will cost only $50 to appear in the CSM exam. The CSM course fees are also low. A CSM certificate will boost your career growth in any industry or organization that involves Agile values. This certificate will prove that the bearer has an Agile mindset and an understanding of Agile concepts. This exam will have 50 questions, and you have to be correct for 37 questions at minimum to pass. The test will last for an hour. You will get the results of the exam right after you submit your answers.
CSM helps teams and project heads to properly use Scrum, which eventually increases the likelihood of the overall success of the project. CSM encapsulates the Scrum values, practices, and applications that provide a level of knowledge and expertise above and beyond those of a typical project lead and manager. The CSM acts as the servant leaders, that protect the team from internal and external distractions. CSM exam certification is valid for two years from the date you accepted the license agreement. In this way, they help the team to work together and learn the framework of Scrum. Passing the CSM exam will require preparations that will allow you to clear it in the first attempt. Read through the following tips to understand how to prepare for passing the Certified Scrum Master Exam.
1. Read the official course material provided by Scrum
The CSM exam will all be based on questions that are from the Scrum guide that is the official guide provided by the Scrum Alliance. It is the latest version of the Scrum Alliance learning objective. The test is comprised of the learning objectives. You can find many sourcebooks and course materials to cover the subjects of CSM, but you must refer to the official one and then to the rest. Some blogs and websites provide the desired information about the CSM rules and concepts, but your first preference must be the official guide. The official guide for CSM will cover all the topics that you will be asked in the CSM exam. There are very few chances of you being asked a question that you haven’t already seen in the CSM guide. Many students solely on this guide as well which explains its importance based on the question criteria. But you should make sure that you do not only rely on this guide. But your preparation must begin from this one by touching all the concepts the guide has talked about.
2. Take mock tests
Mock tests are a great way to assess your understanding of the CSM exam. You will need to appear in many mock tests until you score 100% in them because you 100% marks in the mock tests will be equal to the passing score in CSM real-time exam. You can find several mock tests online out of which a few are free as well. and many preparation sources also come up with mock exams in the package. You must keep a note of what questions you weren’t confident about and keep noting them down. This will allow you to understand that which topics of the course require more preparation, and you can then focus only on the main ones.
3. Go through study materials
Practice preparing through study materials. Materials like course books and guides are the best source of seeking required knowledge for passing the exam. These books can be found online easily and are also provided in hard copies. But its better to get the PDF version for portability. There are list of books online to prepare from for this exam. One of the books is Scrum: A Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction by, Chris Sims & Hillary Louise Johnson.
4. Understand all of the events in Scrum
There are four events in Scrum, namely Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective. These events must be thoroughly studied while preparing for the CSM exam. They are the concepts that will be widely covered in the exam. Out of these, the most important one is the Daily Scrum, which covers the daily events, and it happens most of the time. Team members value this event over many others. The Scrum has these events to hold the most importance based on the topics discussed in its main guide.
5. Understand the rules and roles in Scrum
There are some rules ad roles in Scrum that must be studied well to be able to pass in the CSM exam. The scrum roles are three in number, i.e., scrum master, product owner, and development team member. Some of the Scrum rules are:
- Every sprint is four weeks or less in duration
- There are no breaks in sprints
- Every sprint is of the same length
- The intention of every sprint is ‘potentially shippable’ software
- Every sprint includes sprint planning
- The sprint planning meeting is time-boxed to 2 hours/ week of sprint length
These rules and roles cover a big chunk of the course in CSM exam preparation. You can understand these topics and make sure to be clear of what you are reading and make sperate notes of each of the roles and rules described above. This will come in handy while solving the CSM questions.
6. Know the agile manifesto
The agile manifesto has four foundational values, and it’s 12 supporting principles. These principles lead the agile approach to software development. All these agile methodologies apply to the four values in several ways. You must be aware of the whole agile manifesto to understand what the CSM exam questions will be about. You can score well above the passing criteria if you know about the agile manifesto. The four values and 12 principles of agile will help you in responding to change caused by following a certain plan. The agile manifesto encompasses individuals and interactions over processes and tools. People who have an understanding of the agile manifesto will be able to understand the CSM concepts even better.
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7. Follow online groups and offline boot camps
The best way to prepare for any exam is to surround yourself with individuals who are appearing for the same exam. You get surrounded by people of different levels of experience, and everyone shares there own expertise of it. The same is for the CSM Scrum Master exam. You may find many online groups on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn that provide you with the required information and preparation to pass on the CSM exam. Here teachers, with their expert knowledge about the exam, are gathered to share their knowledge with the first-time exam givers. The community helps you a lot in building students up who are wishing to take the CSM exam.
8. Take the Certified ScrumMaster course
The CSTs provide it. You will have to have a course attendance to be able to get the CSM certificate, and you won’t be awarded the certificate without this course. This course will help you understand the basics of the CSM scrum master, and you will be good to begin further with all that you need to learn to pass the CSM exam. This course won’t take more than two days to cover and will end up giving you a sound knowledge of how the CSM works and its basic concepts. You will be able to cover the entire concepts of the CSM ScrumMaster exam by giving you a deeper knowledge of all the concepts explained in the CSM Guide.
9. Make mind maps
Mind maps are usually made to help readers make a linking between the concepts and ideas of what Scrum is. The mind maps will relate real-life objects with concepts included in the CSM course. This is a technique used to enhance the ability to remember something for longer durations. It is up to the reader to link the concepts with things that he knows will remain in his memory for long. Mind maps have been proved to maximize the brain’s ability to remember things for longer durations. Many coursebooks offer with inbuilt mind maps.
10. Go through the “The New, New Product Development Game”
This is a document that covers most of the concepts required to pass the CSM Scrum Master exam. This document is majorly based on the fiercely competitive world of commercial new product development, the speed, and flexibility of the processes. It guides you on how to manage all these processes inside and from outside of the organization. There are many ways to implement the process execution that is stated in this document. It has six characteristics: built-in stability, self-organizing project teams, overlapping development phases, multi learning, subtle control, and organizational transfer of learning. These six parts fit perfectly together and form a flexible process for product development. All these six characteristics are highly needed to master the CSM exam details.
11. Master the important topics
Some of the important topics that are advised to go through perfectly before appearing in the CSM Scrum Master are:
- CSM Test Content: The CSM Test content contains the domains of CSM that are Scrum and Agile, Scrum Theory, Scrum values, Scrum team, Scrum Master, Scrum events, and scrum artifacts. All these domains make up the CSM test content that must be read thoroughly to understand the CSM exam questions.
- CSM Learning objective: The learning objectives that must be covered in the CSM exam are stated in this objective guide. It includes every implementation of Scrum and teams and organizations that apply Scrum within their context, keeping the fundamental framework always the same.
- Scrum: A pocket guide: This pocket guide will keep you updated with your knowledge on the CSM exam on the go. You will be able to read the basic concepts whenever and wherever you are. It is based on the Scrum edition 2013. It describes the past and future of Scrum.
Getting the CSM ScrumMaster exam will not be that difficult, but it will require the due preparation. You need to be well aware of the scrum roles and rules and also of the agile processes. Having a CSM ScrumMaster certificate will allow you to understand the project management requirements of your organization. Bearing the CSM ScrumMaster certificate, you will be able to help the Scrum team perform their best in the company. You will also be responsible for protecting your team from external and internal distractions. You will be responsible for the team roles, events, and artifacts to support the progress and milestone achievement of your team.
The required marks for passing this exam are 37 questions out of 50, which is considered an easy target to reach. But even though it is easy to reach, you still will have to spend some time in the preparation of the exam. Through this certificate, you will be able to have the knowledge and skills that are needed to manage any project that includes the Scrum processes. The scrum certification will also give you the confidence to implement Scrum across different projects and sectors of your company. You will get an enhanced ability in agile and Scrum practices. And through this certificate, you will be a member of Scrum Alliance for two years. The Scrum Masters can get paid between $90,895/year to $71,332/year according to the role they offer.